Explaining Mexico’s Consumer Paradox

08/24/16 The Huffington Post 

Pesos by Flickr user AleiexThe disassociation between consumer confidence and consumer spending habits over the past two years has been one of the Mexico’s most interesting economic puzzles. The economy remains stuck in a three-year slowdown (GDP contracted in the second quarter by a sequential 0.3%), tighter fiscal and monetary conditions are in place as a result of low oil prices and a weak peso, and the string of corruption and impunity scandals surrounding the political class (and particularly the ruling PRI) appears to have no end in sight, even despite the passage of anti-corruption legislation.

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Why teachers have been occupying one of Mexico’s most alluring public spaces since May

07/25/16 Los Angeles Times

protest -- stroke -- resistanceWith its towering cathedral, stately trees and many cafes, the central plaza here usually exudes a sense of peace and elegance — a place to dine, reflect or listen to the marimba bands that perform on the ornate, wrought-iron bandstand.

But sit-ins, roadblocks and violence linked to Mexico’s roiling conflict between teachers and the federal government have cast a pall over Oaxaca City and the Guelaguetza, the signature annual celebration of the indigenous and mestizo heritage of this culturally rich state.

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Mexico’s president apologizes for wife’s purchase of home from contractor

07/18/16 The Guardian 

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and first lady Angelica Rivera salute during the military parade celebrating Independence Day at the Zocalo square in downtown Mexico CityMexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has apologized for a damaging conflict of interest scandal in 2014 surrounding his wife’s purchase of a $7m luxury home from a government contractor.

Peña Nieto made what was an unusually frank apology for a Mexican leader over the scandal as he signed into law a new anti-corruption system that the government hopes will boost its credibility in the run-up to the 2018 presidential elections.

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An Año Horrible for Mexico’s President

07/14/16 Bloomberg

Enrique Pena NietoFor Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, 2016 was supposed to be a good year. The government had promised that in the second half of his six-year term, which started in 2012, the reforms pushed through Congress during his momentous first few months in office would bear fruit. They’d bolster growth as well as the standing of his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Instead, the Mexican leader finds himself battling problems, including low oil prices and public dissatisfaction with the government’s response to corruption. The measure Peña Nieto said was most important—a plan to improve public education by making teachers more accountable for their performance—has sparked protests in the nation’s impoverished south.

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Ex-Electricity Chief Named Leader of Mexico’s Ruling Party

07/12/16 The New York Times

EnriqueOchoa.jpgMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s ruling party on Tuesday chose Enrique Ochoa, the former head of the country’s electricity agency and an ally of President Enrique Pena Nieto, as its new leader.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party said Ochoa was the only one to meet all requirements ahead of the deadline and hours later swore him in as party president. The appointment doesn’t mean Ochoa will be the PRI’s candidate in the 2018 presidential election but it puts him in contention to be.

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Northeast Mexico Sees Eruption of Violence

07/11/16 Insight Crime

Tamaulipas.jpgTamaulipas was the scene of two killings involving multiple victims over the weekend in a spate of violence that may have been precipitated by changing political and criminal dynamics in the northeastern Mexico state.

Early on July 9, a group of armed assailants in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, broke into a residence and killed 11 members of a family, reported Milenio. Less than one hour later, attackers entered a different home in Ciudad Victoria, killing three and injuring four. Of the 14 fatalities, 11 were women and five were minors, according to Milenio.

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Mexico Prosectors Seek to Block Legal Shields for Outgoing Governors

07/11/16 The Wall Street Journal

DuarteMEXICO CITY—Mexico’s federal attorney general’s office filed a constitutional challenge Monday before the Supreme Court to block legislation in two states that critics say would keep several outgoing state governors and former officials from facing prosecution on corruption-related charges.

In jointly announcing the move, a senior federal prosecutor and a spokesman for President Enrique Peña Nieto said the state legislation was in conflict with the national anticorruption system approved last year with changes to the constitution.

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